Communication and Sales, Part Two

By Thomas Young

Communication in sales serves two major functions. One function is the actual business at hand, negotiation or sales transaction. The second more important function is how the communication is meeting the emotional needs of your customer or prospect.

The Facts
The actual negotiation or sales transaction, and how it is being handled are the issues on the table. Most sales people do well in this area, as long as they continue to focus on listening and understanding the other side’s point of view. Ask for clarification and make use of intelligent probing questions. Make sure all the parties agree on the data and terms of the discussion.

Emotional Needs
By far more important is how the communication is meeting the emotional needs of the parties involved in the sale. This is because people buy based on emotional needs and benefits. These needs include power, self-esteem, control, fear, and other emotions. The focus needs to be on the buyer and seller to create an efficient, effective outcome. Avoid power struggles and ego based conflicts and nurture teamwork and shared commitment. This may mean putting your emotional needs aside to better meet the needs of your customer. Remember, we pull our own emotional strings. Nothing can impact a person, unless they let it impact them. This is a powerful step to becoming a sales master. It results in communication without judgment or criticism. This draws people to you and makes the communication process easier.

The Customer’s Mind
The professional sales person understands the customer does not share their thoughts and feelings about the product or service being sold. In order to bridge this gap, you must communicate in the words and thoughts of the customer. The sales process evolves out of what is in the customer’s mind. Use this to work together towards a mutually beneficial agreement.

Become a Spokesperson
Sales people can communicate the message that effectively meets customer needs and adds value better than any other marketing tool available to organizations. This is done through building relationships with customers and understanding customer needs on a personal level. Proper communication skills are critical to making this happen.

Listening Builds Trust
If you have been reading my articles you know how important listening is to building trust. Trust, in turn, is critical to success in sales. It is perhaps the most important thing you can do during your sales process. Listen to understand your prospects and customers. This is like giving them emotional air. We all want to be heard and valued by others. Being your customers’ best listener should be your goal. As sales professionals we are often overwhelmed with information about selling and other aspects of our work and life. When you cut through it all there is one thing every sales person should remember: be an excellent listener!

Sales and Marketing Management magazine recently conducted a survey of purchasing managers, who dealt with sales people almost their entire workday. The survey reported the one thing these managers disliked most about the average salesperson, is they talk too much and do not take time to understand their business.

Communication is most effective when it meets the emotional needs of your customers and prospects. Understanding this helps you exceed your sales goals and reach high levels of success.

Tom Young, MBA is president of Sales Training Plus, a sales training and marketing consulting firm helping companies increase revenues. He can be reached at 719-481-4040, or email at  [email protected].